What is it they say... ‘What a difference a day makes... 24 little hours...?’ Well it certainly does here at St Thomas More! We continue to be a busy place where no-one stands still for too long. We have much to celebrate and look back on with happiness and gratitude as we come to the end of another academic year.

Since we met last we have celebrated the amazing academic, sporting, artistic, social and personal accomplishments made by our students in Years 7 - 9 at their Awards Evening on Thursday last. We were also treated to three fantastic and most moving musical interludes provided by our school choir and led by Miss Carr

The week beforehand we were treated to a most professional and invigorating three night run of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. I am sure that those of you who were lucky to attend will agree we would need to go very far afield to see any other performance that would rival the enthusiasm, spirit, creativity and talent that seeped off the stage and not only entertained but captivated each and everyone of us. They not only made us feel as we were one ‘of their guests’ but brought the tale to life. We were also delighted to welcome Year 6 students from St Joseph’s in Darlaston to the matinee performance delivered on Wednesday 4th of July. They arrived in costume and are themselves performing ‘Beauty and the Beast’ as their Year 6 production. We are lucky to have been asked to attend and will be doing so!

We have also welcomed students from our Catholic primary feeder schools to school over the last two weeks for a variety of events. These included St Peter’s Bloxwich, St Joseph’s Darlaston, Holy Trinity Bilston and St Thomas of Canterbury, Walsall. Year 5 students joined us for their annual Year 5 Retreat. Devised and delivered by our RE department, students were treated to a range of activities and were ably looked after and cared for by members of our Year 12 who were truly amazing. In addition to the above, students from Year 3 from St Joseph’s and Holy Trinity Catholic School joined us for two of our end-of-year Masses. In addition to the above we also welcomed Year 4 students from St Joseph’s, St Peter’s, St Thomas of Canterbury and Holy Trinity to our second Spirit and Sport Day. We had a grand old time - students participated in activities delivered by the following departments - RE, English, Art, Music, Drama and PE. We also celebrated Mass and were delighted to welcome Fr Doran to do so for us. Fr Doran celebrates Mass for us each Wednesday morning in school. I was particularly proud of our Year 10 work experience students who led the day, looking after all the arrangements be that assisting with the supervision of students at break and lunch, leading them to and from their sessions, making sure they had assistance and support in sessions or reading at Mass and participating in the Offertory Procession.

Friday morning just gone, the 13th, also saw us host our last coffee morning for this academic year. Organised and led by members of our Young SVP we welcomed at least twenty parishioners from a variety of local parishes to school. Once finished a cup of tea, as much cake and biscuits as you could look at, and the usual competitive game of bingo, those who could stayed and joined our Year 4 visitors for Mass.

We have held our end-of-year trips to Alton Castle and Drayton Manor. You will be pleased to know that everyone enjoyed themselves, queued up nicely, got to go on all the rides they wanted - even the fast and scary ones - and made it home in one piece - and that was just the staff!

Our Year 12 students completed their week’s work experience and were a credit to our school. In fact one report received from a placement said the following about Nathan, a member of our Year 12, “Nathan was always on time, very polite and professional, including his appearance and general manner. He has settled into the team with everything he has worked on... I’d give him a job.” Our Year 10 students are currently completing their final week of their two-week placements and already we are hearing of some students being offered Saturday jobs as a result of their professional maturity and diligence whilst on task.

Our Year 10 and Year 9 students have completed their end-of-year exams and did so with enthusiasm and diligence. We are now reviewing their progress and I am meeting with all Heads of Department to look, with particular interest, at Year 10 with a view to their move into Year 11 and the conclusion of their GCSE journey. We intend to contact certain parents/carers to discuss ways forward to ensure and support a positive outcome and will be placing materials on Show My Homework for students to access over the summer holidays.

As we close for our summer holidays we will be holding our final non-uniform day of the year. This year our particular focus will be the ‘Smile for Joel’ charity. Joel was a student at one of our neighbouring Catholic secondary schools, Stuart Bathurst, and was tragically killed alongside his uncle and grandfather whilst on holiday in Tunisia. On Friday of this week both students and staff will be invited to wear bright colours and donate £2.00, half of which will be donated to our regular charities and the remaining half to the ‘Smile for Joel’ charity. As parents and teachers I am sure we will all agree that there is nothing worse than the loss of a young person. This charity resonates in a particular way with a number of us who over the years taught or worked at Stuart Bathurst in some capacity. In fact some are even past students of the school.

Now - enough from me... I would like to thank you all for your ongoing care, support, encouragement and advice. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your children - as parents there never seems to be enough time to stop and take a breath - I hope you manage to do so and that God will bless and look after you all. We look forward to seeing both you and your children in September ready for another busy but entertaining and successful year.

God bless,

Mrs Bowen, Headteacher

World Skills Show

On 15th November, a group of year 9 students attended the World Skills Show event in Birmingham. The World Skills Show is the UK’s largest skills, apprenticeships and careers event.

Barclays Lifeskills Workshop

On Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th November facilitators from the Transformation Trust visited our school to deliver Barclays LifeSkills workshops to Years 7 and 8.

Bank of England Visit

As a Business Studies student I was given the opportunity to meet Mr P Brione from the Bank of England, who has a paramount role in the International Policy and Strategy as the Senior Manager.

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